2023 Trib HSSN Preseason Football All-Star Team: Central Catholic’s Peter Gonzalez

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Monday, July 31, 2023 | 11:20 AM


For some programs, coming close is not good enough. There is no such thing as a silver lining.

Central Catholic wide receiver Peter Gonzalez believes the Vikings are one of those programs.

Gonzalez and his fellow seniors are champing at the championship bit after losses in the WPIAL Class 6A finals two years in a row.

“It’s our goal to win championships,” he said. “I feel the losses fuel us to work hard and finally achieve that goal.”

After accumulating 322 receiving yards and averaging nearly 18 yards per catch as a sophomore in 2021, Gonzalez was second on the team last fall with 42 receptions for 735 yards and six touchdowns, despite coming off knee surgery.

“I feel like I gave it all I had coming back from the knee injury,” Gonzalez said. “Obviously, we fell short of our ultimate goal, but we overcame a lot of adversity, making us closer than ever.”

It hasn’t taken Gonzalez long to catch the eye of new Central Catholic coach Ryan Lehmeier.

“Peter is a very driven and determined kid,” Lehmeier said. “He wasn’t 100% when he came back last year, so when we first sat down and spoke, the No. 1 thing we wanted to do is to make sure he was healthy.

“He was able to run track this fall and had a great season. I think it was something that really helped him as he approached the camp circuit this past spring. He’s been great at practice, and I’m really looking forward to what he’ll do this fall.”

The feeling between the new coach and the Penn State commit is mutual.

“He’s a great coach,” Gonzalez said of Lehmeier.

“He took command of the team quickly and is a great leader. His offensive mind is incredible, and I can’t wait to execute on the field.”

Last year as an assistant coach at Seneca Valley, Lehmeier faced Central Catholic and Gonzalez in Week 8. The Vikings won 28-25 as Gonzalez led the way with seven receptions for 140 yards and two touchdowns.

“I think getting to watch Peter from afar, the first thing that jumped out at me was his size and ability to challenge defenders with his physicality when the ball was in the air,” Lehmeier said.

Now that Gonzalez is healthy again, the bar is raised.

“My expectations for Peter are the same I think Peter has for himself,” Lehmeier said. “I want him to continue to grow as a player and as a person in our program. He’s a great worker and a relentless competitor at practice. I expect him to be the same way when we play.”

Gonzalez feels he has improved on several fronts that will help him get better on Friday nights this fall.

“I think from last season, I’ve gotten both faster and stronger,” he said. “Using those abilities at 100% is my main goal this season.”

Another big goal for Gonzalez and his teammates is to rewrite the script on how their season ends.

“I’m most looking forward to our team reaching its full potential,” Gonzalez said. “This group has been through a lot and has bonded through it all, so I can’t wait to see us take that to the field.”

Peter Gonzalez

Central Catholic

Senior

6-3/200

Wide receiver

Committed to: Penn State

Other Division I offers: Pitt, West Virginia, Miami, Cincinnati, Virginia Tech, Iowa State, Maryland, Syracuse, Akron, Bowling Green, Central Michigan, Eastern Kentucky, Marshall and UConn.

2022 statistics: He had 42 receptions for 735 yards and six touchdowns last year despite starting his junior season late while recovering from knee surgery. He is a three-star prospect and the No. 29 player in the state according to Rivals.com.

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